HOUSTON (AP) _ American General Corp., an insurance company in a proxy fight with Torchmark Corp., on Wednesday reported 10.2 percent growth in its first- quarter earnings.

The company, which is based in Houston, earned $101.14 million, or 90 cents per share, on revenue of $1.04 billion for the three months ended March 31.

During the same period last year, the company had earnings of $97.17 million, or 77 cents per share, on revenue of $1 billion.

''The improved earnings in the first quarter are the hard-won rewards of a very complex and difficult restructuring program. We believe these results signal the beginning of a new era of progress for American General,'' said Harold S. Hooks, American General's chairman and chief executive officer.

American General, with subsidiaries that operate in 50 states and Canada, is in a battle with Birmingham, Ala.-based Torchmark, best known for its Liberty National Mutual Insurance subsidiary.

Torchmark made a surprise $6.4 billion offer for American General last month and a week later withdrew its offer, opting instead to solicit proxies to elect its own nominees to American General's board of directors.

A Houston federal judge issued a preliminary injunction that had kept Torchmark from lobbying American General's shareholders in support of theirv slate.

But a three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week stayed the injunction.

American General shareholders are scheduled to elect six directors at American General's May 2 annual meeting.

American General mailed a letter to its shareholders Tuesday to support its nominees and reject Torchmark's shareholder resolution calling for American General to hire an investment banking firm and appoint a committee of independent directors to evaluate acquisition proposals.